Searching to Obtain a “Soul Lift” Instead of a “Facelift”

A “New Image” for the Old–

A woman who turned 101 years old, was asked by a local news reporter, what she thought of living to such a ripe old age.  Her reply made me tickled:

“You know this growing old stuff is for the birds.  But considering the alternate, I’ll take growing old.”

When I reached the age of collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits in my 60’s, the “You Know You’re Getting Older When…” jokes began to play against my self-worthiness.  I know, a ‘man of God’ concerned about what he looked like in the mirror? Sorry, it happens sometimes.

“You know you’re getting old when…”

*  You and your teeth don’t sleep together.

*  You try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and discover you aren’t wearing any.

*  You are on a first name basis with your pharmacist.

That last little “giggle” really applies in my life.  Walking into our small town pharmacist the other day to pick up a called in prescription when a voice rang out,  “Hi Mel!”  And of course, I returned the greeting and yelled across the store “Hi Jerry!!” instead of yelling back across the pharmacy counter, “What ya’ say?”.  But as the lady centenarian exclaimed, “considering the alternate…”; guess I can still chuckle at “getting older” jokes.

SCRIPTURE 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Amplified Bible:

[16] Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.

[17]  For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory  [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!].

[18]  Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

We Are Living in a Plastic Surgery World!

I recently read in a survey dealing with plastic surgery in America, that 48% of women are interested in liposuction, cosmetic surgery, or a combination of the two.  An additional 23% said they would “possibly” be interested [Footnote [i] ].

Despite the traditional implications of cosmetic surgery as a feminine procedure, a surprising number of men expressed a similar interest.  Twenty-three percent of the men surveyed said they were definitely interested, 17% said they “might be interested [Footnote [i] ].

Outwardly we are wasting away! (2 Corinthians 4:16)

The apostle Paul’s opponents FOCUSED on the bodily presence, worldly skills, and money.  Sound familiar today?

The Greco-Roman world worshiped the body, consider the Olympic Games.  They focused exclusively on the external: exo anthropos; dee-af-thi-ro; “to rot thoroughly” – i.e. to ruin – corrupt, destroy, perish.

2 Corinthians 4:4:  “For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and likeness of God.”

Verse 4:18:  “Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.”

In Paul’s Day…

In Paul’s day, as in our day, most people seem to focus on what is VISIBLE and FLEETING.

In our culture the “worship” of the human body.  Someone watching on TV an infomercial while eating Nachos, seeing a person receiving a stomach bypass surgery, collagen injections and liposuction.  Is there something wrong with that picture?

Our actions to resist the inevitable becomes obvious and therefore ridiculous.  If you can get a tan in a can, why get one?

EMBRACE your aging, regardless your number!

“As a white candle

In a holy place,

So is the beauty

Of an aged face.”

[Footnote [ii]]

ANTITHESIS: Inwardly we are being RENEWED day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16):

Paul tells us there is another option available to seek:  We can be RENEWED “day by day” – Our “earthly home” or “earthly tent” (2 Corinthians 4:16; 5:1, 4).

Some of the most  handsome, beautiful people I know and recognize in this life are godly people.

graham
Billy Graham

 

Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa

CHOOSE to focus on the INVISIBLE and the ETERNAL:

The Human Heart –

“seek” or “search” to have a SOUL LIFT instead of a FACELIFT.  The start begins with the inward renovation  with Jesus Christ:

“Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown forth by and in our bodies”               (2 Corinthians 4:10 AMP).

It is a daily process, “day after day”; His life in us and not our life.

SYNTHESES–Deductive Reasoning comes into play at this point–

We have “precious treasure” stored in JARS OF CLAY:

“We possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and 4200524837_e5ef456736exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves”  (2 Corinthians 4:7 AMP).

The NIV translation of the above verse says “jars of clay”; baked clay pots, cheap, breakable and replaceable but still serves a necessary function:

*  2 Cor. 4:16;

*  4:7  “may be shown”

*  4:17  

ILLUSTRATION of treasure in “jars of clay”

We can possess God’s LOVE within our lives, but if all you have is the outward, then it will pass away:

“Therefore you not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”                   (1 Corinthians 1:7, 8 NIV).

To focus on the outward and neglect the inward is but “Fool’s Gold.”

2008 Fitness magazine poll:

1,000 women were asked what they would do to get their desired weight:  21% said they would trade ten years of their life!

The greatest prize to find in life is…

Not your outer appearance but your inward glory.  When it comes right down to it, true makeovers happen from the inside out.  Care and maintain your body image, but do not worship your body.

The “Disobedient Body” – a Story by Philip Yancey (See Footnotes for source) – A powerful Metaphor for the Church:

HOPE

I have a bright, talented and very funny friend in Seattle named Carolyn Martin.  But Carolyn has cerebral palsy, and it is the peculiar tragedy of her condition that its outward signs–drooling, floppy arm movements, inarticulate speech, a bobbing head–caused people who meet her to wonder if she is retarded.  Actually, her mind is one part of her that works perfectly; it is muscular control she lacks.

Carolyn lived for 15 years in a home for the mentally retarded, because the state had no other place to put her.  Her closest friends were people like Larry, who tore all his clothes off and ate the institution’s houseplants, and Arlene, who only knew three sentences and called everyone “Mama.”  Carolyn determined to escape from that home and to find a meaningful place for herself in the outside world.

Eventually, she did manage to move out and establish a home of her own.  There, the simplest chores posed an overwhelming challenge.  It took her three months to learn to brew a pot of coffee and pour it into cups without scalding herself.  But Carolyn mastered that feat and many others.  She enrolled in high school, graduated, then signed up for community college.

Everyone on campus knew Carolyn as “the disabled person.”  They would see her sitting in a wheelchair, hunched over, painstakingly typing out notes on a device called a Cannon Communicator.  Few felt comfortable talking with her, they could not follow her jumbled sounds.  But Carolyn persevered, stretching out a two-year Associate of Arts degree program over seven years.  Next, she enrolled in a Lutheran college to study the Bible.  After two years there, she was asked to speak to her fellow students in chapel.

Carolyn worked many hours on her address.  She typed out the final draft–at her average speed of 45 words per minute a page–and asked her friend Josee to read it for her…Josee had a strong, clear voice.

On the day of the chapel service, Carolyn sat slumped in her wheelchair on the left side of the platform.  At times her arms jerked uncontrollably, her head lolled to one side so that it almost touched her shoulder, and a stream of saliva sometimes ran down her blouse.  Beside her stood Josee, who read the mature and graceful prose Carolyn had composed, centered around the Bible text: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surprising power is from God but not from us.”

For the first time, those students saw Carolyn as a complete human being, like themselves.  Before then her mind, a very good mind, had always been inhibited by a “disobedient” body, and difficulties with speech had masked her intelligence.  But hearing her address read aloud as they looked at her on stage, the students could see past the body in a wheelchair and imagine the whole person.

 


FOOTNOTES:

[i] – Statistics, Surveys and Trends – American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

[ii] – Joseph Campbell, “The Old Woman”.

Photo Credits:

Billy Graham – BG Photo cnsnews.com

Mother Teresa – Google Photos at  http://www.biography.com/mother-teresa/

 – Photo Pin.

Story Source Credit:

The “Disobedient Body” / “Disappoint with God” a  story of Carolyn Martin; the “Hope” chapter by Philip Yancey – https://books-google.com/books 2009. 

 

The “THIRD PERSON” is more than a Ghost! (Part 1 of 2)

Who is The Holy Spirit and what does He do?

John 1:32
John 1:32

John gave further evidence, saying,  “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven; and it dwelt on Him–not to depart.”

WHERE TO START?   1 Corinthians 2:1-16 (NIV).

[1]  WHEN I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  [2] For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  [3] I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  [4] My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,  [5] so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.  [6] We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age, who are coming to nothing.  [7] No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.  [8] None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  [9] However, as it is written:

“No eye has seen,

no ear has heard,

no mind has conceived

what God has prepared for those who love him” —

[10] but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  [11] For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  [12] We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.  [13] This is what we speak, not in words taught to us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.  

[14] The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.  

[15] The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:

[16] “For who has known the mind of the Lord

that he may instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

He is More than a Ghost–Verse 14 tells us so!

More than a “GHOST” – HE HAS A HISTORY OR “BEING”:

Let me give you an insert I came across in my detective investigation this past week:

Denying the personality of the Holy spirit.  In their denial of the Trinity, Jehovah Witnesses deny the personality of the Holy Spirit.  They claim that “the holy spirit is the invisible active force of Almighty God which moves his servants to do his will.”  To a Witness, the Spirit is a mere impersonal force similar to electricity.  [from A Guide to Cults & New Religions by Ronald Enroth & Others; page 109].

Non-believers have…

1.   Resisted – “This man without the spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God.”

2.  Ridiculed – “For they are foolishness to him.”

3.  Misunderstood – “And he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

It is completely understandable that of the Trinity; the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit–we are the least knowledgeable of the “Person” and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

My wife and I had decided to join a church fellowship in a new community we had moved into.  The church required that those who DESIRED to become members, must go through a “New Membership Class” conducted by the senior pastor.  At the end of the classes, there was a QUESTION & ANSWER time.  Not being a shy person, I raised my hand and asked,  “Why don’t we talk more about the Holy Spirit in church, is there a REASON?”  After a brief pause by the pastor…”Well, we probably should mention the third Person of the Trinity more often…but I guess the reason might be that ‘certain’ denominational churches have over-emphasized the Spirit, others have backed away.”

I thought, where did that reasoning come from–who told you that and how can a Christian “over-emphasize” Holy Spirit?  That explanation didn’t set right in my spirit and two years later…I swallowed the “RED PILL” and the attributes of the Spirit began to become more personal, more real, more visible [*See “Taking the Red Pill” at the top of my Blog-site].

“Who is the Holy Spirit?”

Simple answer is…the Holy Spirit is GOD!

The Proof–

If you look at the Scripture passage given in 1 Corinthians 2, we see the words of GOD and Spirit are interchangeable or one in the same.  For example; verse 4 and 5, we see the Spirit’s Power is also called GOD’S POWER.

“[4]  And my message and my preaching were very plain.  Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.  [5] I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God”  (New Living Translation).

In verse 11, we see the very thoughts of GOD are the very thoughts of the Spirit:

“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God”  (New International Version).

The SECOND THING we need to be seeing–

The Holy Spirit is  NOT some impersonal force as some cults claim.

HE SPEAKS TO US  (verses 9-10).

HE SEARCHES ALL THINGS  (verse 10).

HE KNOWS THE THOUGHTS OF GOD  (verse 11).

HE TEACHES US WHAT GOD HAS FREELY GIVEN US  (verse 13):  “And we are setting these truths forth in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual truths with spiritual language [to those who possess the Holy Spirit].”

What Does the Holy Spirit Do?

He EMPOWERS US to share our testimony or as some Bible translations say, “our witness”.  (verses 1-5)–

As the WORD DETECTIVE, when I come across words Christians almost flippantly use, we’ve perhaps lost the meanings of…and I began the search there.

In First Corinthians, Chapter 2, verse one, we come to the word “testimony” or “witness”.  Turning to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, I proceeded to look up the two words and their definitions.  I found the English Word, “testimony”, comes from the Greek Word “maturion” or “marturia”, where we also get the English Word MARTYR from.

The word MARTYR can be defined as “a person who is killed because of their beliefs: “she was martyred for her faith.”

 So, with that definition in mind, to give your testimony to someone or to witness  in your neighborhood gives us an entirely different perspective. To me anyhow.  “Am I willing to be “martyred” to give my testimony?”  Are you?

Vine’s says, that a “… witness or testimony refers to the fact that the missionaries besides proclaiming the truths of the gospel, had borne witness to the POWER of these truths.”

As unlikely as it may seem, the apostle Paul experienced all of the same difficulties we face in sharing OUR FAITH:

In Verse One, he was not eloquent nor did he have superior wisdom.

In Verse Three, he confesses he came to them in weakness, fear and much trembling.

Can you see that Paul could identify we every objection, excuses we have in not sharing our faith with others?  It is only because you and I are NOT QUALIFIED that we are given the Spirit’s POWER to share the gospel with others.  I like an old saying that was given to me in a Evangelism Training class years ago:  “You don’t go out witnessing, you witness as you go!”  BUT, do we?

“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power”  (Verse 4).

If we can only believe verse 4, it will set us free to share our faith and the demonstration of the POWER of the Holy Spirit.

“What do we say?”

Not feeling qualified would be one of the biggest objections in sharing our faith.  And, “What to say in our testimony” might be another objection.

We have to be careful that we don’t make the mistake of putting something else at the center of our testimony–our witness.  The most important thing to share with someone is what God has done for us.  God has done a lot for you and I but we see in verse 2, Paul gives us the answer of the most important thing God has done for us!

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was

with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

According to the Apostle Paul, the crucifixion of His Son Jesus for our sins is the most important thing:

“But God shows and clearly proves His love for us

by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”  (Romans 5:8).

Is it really that simple, to just say, “Christ Jesus was crucified on a Cross; died for your sins and mine? Yes, it’s that simple!

The Holy Spirit Empowers Us to Share Our Faith–

1.  We have seen that despite the fact we’re not qualified, He wants to EMPOWER US!

2.  We have seen that the most important thing to share with others is that Christ Jesus was crucified for their sins.

Before I move on to the next point, I want to direct you to another part of SHARING YOUR FAITH.

“What is the GOAL of SHARING?  And how do we know when someone is SAVED?”

“so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power”  (Verse 5).

EVERYONE is resting their FAITH on something but not everyone is resting their FAITH on the right thing.  Looking back over my Christian life, the biggest thing I’ve found in sharing JESUS with people is that they rest their faith on their own good works.

A person is SAVED only when they rest their faith on the historical fact that JESUS DIED for their sins on the Cross.

“We all like sheep have gone astray but

He has laid on Him the sins of the world.”

1.  The Holy Spirit empowers us to share our testimony (Verses 1-5).

2.  The Holy Spirit helps to bring us to Christian Maturity (Vs. 16).

“We do, however speak a message of wisdom among the mature…”

I am going to break at this point in the study and continue in PART TWO of The “THIRD PERSON” is more than a Ghost!  I will begin with a question for you to ponder:  “WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL DEFINITION OF CHRISTIAN MATURITY?”